Firstly for investment purposes the typical length of a university course (3-4 yrs) is a rather short amount of time - around 5+ years is usually the minimum time span for investing. Hence there is a considerable risk of making real-terms losses as gains on investments are often netted over a long time to reduce the impact of crashes (and other events such as brexit).
stocks and bonds investment options
Option 1 - individual company stocks
This is the highest effort solution as significant research is required and is likely the higher risk option. A number of banks and other investment services will offer an online platform for this.
Option 2 - funds
A number of funds exist which try to index particular stock markets or sectors. The FTSE 100 is a well known example of a share index. Some funds may also invest in bonds. A less risky fund may contain a mixture of bonds and shares.
A selection of platform can be found here along with a small amount of information on each and other investing advice.
A number of these platform will also allow regular contribution but may have some restriction on how small these can be.
You are likely to benefit more from a passive funds as the charges on active ones are higher and with your relatively low principal may not be an option.
Peer to Peer loans
perhaps not strictly an investment but lower risk and more suited to shorter time horizons (2-3+ yrs instead of 5+). These are basically loans to people or businesses Extra information and some platform suggestions here
There are a number of different kinds of ISA and you should figure out which kind of ISA is suitable for you savings goals and wrap your investment in one of these if possible. The advantage of an ISA is that no tax is payable on earnings. However if you earn less than £14000 you would not pay tax anyway. However the ISA will protect you from tax later when you might need to pay it.
There are three main ISA types - the yearly ISA limit is 20K with some types having their own limits.
- stocks and shares ISAs
- cash ISAs
- Innovative finance ISAs - for P2P
- Lifetime ISA - can only be withdrawn from to purchase a house or retire but receives a sizeable bonus (limit 4k pa) details should be usable as cash or stocks here
- Help to buy ISA - receives a significant bonus when used to purchase a first home details here
An option is to add this to a personal pension though a Self invested personal pension (SIPP) or some other product. There may be some tax advantages to this but at this stage other options may be more suitable.